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Demand rises for school lunch program

WBFO News photo

The Buffalo school district serves 22,000 breakfasts and nearly 30,000 lunches for its students at a cost of  $21 million with no charge to students.Still, food preparation planners need to persuade kids to eat what's there for them and not throw it away.

Other considerations include food allergies, religious festivals and immigrant students who might not be familiar with American food.

There's also the issue of bureaucrats in Albany and Washington setting rules for everything from sodium levels to field trips.

Food Service Director Bridget O'Brian Wood says the federal Agricultural Department is "trying to encourage children to try fruits and vegetables. And, by putting it on their plate and maybe they'll try it, maybe they'll come back the next day or maybe next month and acquire a taste for the fresh fruits and vegetables we are putting out.

"So, there are changes with what our menu selection is. But, the more we operate and the more we educate the children, the better success we will have in getting them to try those items."

O'Brian Wood says her operation is working with immigrant parents and the District Parent Coordinating Council on foods for their students.


Mike Desmond is one of Western New York’s most experienced reporters, having spent nearly a half-century covering the region for newspapers, television stations and public radio. He has been with WBFO and its predecessor, WNED-AM, since 1988. As a reporter for WBFO, he has covered literally thousands of stories involving education, science, business, the environment and many other issues. Mike has been a long-time theater reviewer for a variety of publications and was formerly a part-time reporter for The New York Times.